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Confident You’ll Pass Your GCSE Resits?

Take your GCSE Resits with Confidence

If your child hasn’t got the grades needed then there are GCSE resits. With retakes, getting into the college or sixth form you want may still be possible. Before embarking on GCSE resits, you should consider how you are going to make sure your child passes this time.

We are going to discuss some of the support your child will need to make sure that he or she passes second time.

Pass Your GCSE Resits – Make Sure it Happens

You might be thinking your child missed a pass by a few marks or even a grade. Maybe they will pass next time with a little extra support. However, confidence can now become an issue. Have you ever tried to do something you believe you can’t do? It’s hard, isn’t it.

In any situation it is important to get the support needed to get the extra marks required to pass. Fortunately, there is plenty of help and support at hand.

Identifying Topics to Focus on

Have you considered which topics need covering? Which topics are the best to focus on? Children often have just a few months to prepare for GCSE retakes and ‘hitting the road running’ is important. Identifying the topics that need covering is important. Once this is done they can be worked through.

Each topic will move your child several points towards reaching the needed grade or pass mark. They might have a good idea of which topics they find difficult and it will definitely be useful to list them. Go through last year’s exercise books and note down topics that were challenging.

However, which topics should you focus on first? Some topics are more important than others. Some topics are key to the grade that your child is trying to achieve, or are important topics that need to be understood to help with more challenging questions.

Either way – you will need to focus your efforts in the limited time remaining.

Improving Confidence

Simply learning the topics is often not enough.

Failing an exam may have dented your child’s confidence. It can be challenging to rebuild this but confidence can have a huge effect on performance.

From my experience as a tutor and teacher, it can be difficult to help children who have lost the belief they can achieve without first addressing their motivation, focus and confidence.

Preparing for your GCSE Resits

Fortunately this is where a good tutor can help.

You should expect your tutor to be able to focus on the most important topics for your child, whilst breaking down the subject into key concepts, techniques or strategies. They should then be able to use one to one support to help your child overcome the difficulties that prevented a first time pass. 

However, tutoring is 50% what you teach and 50% motivating your child to succeed. A good tutor will be able to help rebuild your child’s motivation and confidence. At Genie Tutors we use very small groups which allows our tutors to give your child one to one support. We use the groups to inject pace in the session. We want your child to be actively learning and working hard. 

Contact us now to be better prepared for your GCSE Resits.

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11 Plus Vocabulary List

Download your 11 Plus Vocabulary List

Are you are looking for an 11 Plus Vocabulary List? We have build ours based on over a decade of experience helping children to pass the 11+. You can use this list along with our 11 Plus Vocabulary Games, resources from other providers like CGP and reading a range of good quality literature. See a list of recommended reading for the 11+ here.

Will a Strong Vocabulary Help with 11 Plus Exams?

You may have heard of verbal reasoning and be aware of the English and comprehension elements of the 11+ exams. To answer many of the questions, your child will need to rely on a strong vocabulary. Many children will develop a good vocabulary though: extensive reading of good literature, school and home. Even children who display and use an extensive vocabulary will benefit from having an assessment. You can assess your child’s knowledge with our 11 plus vocabulary list. You will identify known words and identify synonyms and antonyms.

English as a Second Language?

When English is spoken as a second language, you will need a greater emphasis on building a strong Vocabulary. Your first step should be to assess your child’s known vocabulary. You can download our 11 plus vocabulary list below. Use this to assess known words and then start to inproduce new words every week. The resources available from links on this page will help but professional support can also improve your child’s vocabulary.

Is our Vocabulary List comprehensive

Our 11 plus words list is extensive, with over 600 words, and contains many words that are likely to be used in an 11+ exam. You should be aware that a typical adult may use over 3000 words and know more than 20,000! Our list, and the 11 Plus Vocabulary Games you can down load from our website is a great help that should be used with wide and extensive reading to help build a strong vocabulary.

Getting Professional Help

You can download our Vocabulary List here. You should find the file called “11 plus vocabulary list.xlsx” in your downloads folder. If you want help preparing your child for the 11+ exam then why not contact your local centre to book a free trial.

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11 Plus Vocabulary Games

11 Plus Vocabulary Games and Resources

Preparing for the 11 plus exams can be a challenge. Keeping your child motivated is crucial to success and using some good 11 plus vocabulary games can help to improve confidence, motivation as well as developing a rich vocabulary.

11 Plus Vocabulary Flash Cards

Flash cards are a great educational resource that can make learning fun and engaging. You can download our 11 Plus Vocabulary Flash Cards here. Our cards contain over 600 words that are likely to appear in 11+ exams and can be used in a variety of ways to improve:

  • reading and recognition
  • spelling
  • understanding of word meaning and definition

Try these 11 plus vocabulary games and start building confidence and a wider vocabulary.

Improving Reading and Recognition

Activity Duration 2-5 minutes

Select 10-30 words from the deck of 11 plus vocabulary flashcards. Turn them over one at a time asking your child to read them quickly. Allow about 2-3 seconds to read each card before helping by sounding the word out or telling him/her the word.

Make a separate pile of all the words that your child knows leaving a deck of cards that need to be learned. Go through these words a few times before leaving them for the next day.

Continue until all the words are learned adding more cards as your child learns them.

Improving Spelling

Activity time 2-5 minutes

Select 10 words from the deck. Read each word out, then place then word in a sentence and give your child about 10 seconds to spell it.

Make a pile of all the words that your child can spell correctly. These ones are already known.

Ask your child to copy each word they need to learn three times, cover it and write it again. If they spell it correctly leave it until tomorrow. If incorrect ask them to repeat that word.

On the next day test the words that they got wrong on the previous day and repeat the exercise.

Improving Understanding, Meaning and Definition

Activity time 2-5 minutes

Select 10 words from the deck. Ask your child to read each word and place  it in a sentence. Where the word has more than one meaning ask for a sentence with the other meanings.

As an extension you can also discuss a suitable dictionary definition and similar words. It can be useful to have a dictionary and thesaurus at hand in this game.

Other 11 Plus Vocabulary Games, Flash Cards and Resources

Building a strong 11 plus vocabulary is an important aspect of success in your 11+ exam. Your child will also need to develop a range of skills and perform above expectations in school.

You can buy good quality preparation 11 plus vocabulary games from CGP. If you want professional help you can also book a free trial at your local Genie Tutors centre.

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11 Plus Vocabulary

Why is 11 Plus Vocabulary So Important?

A strong vocabulary is important for your child’s future. It’s something that I have enjoyed helping hundreds of children achieve, including my own. Following the steps here will help you to do the same. The steps in this article can be used to help any child build a richer vocabulary – and is a must for 11 plus preparation.

The actual 11 plus vocabulary used in different exams across the country is unknown. I can tell you that the words are challenging and can prove difficult for most children and many adults alike. Understanding a wide variety of words, how they relate to similar words and knowledge of the multiple meanings and uses of them will be key to your child’s test.

Research isn’t conclusive on the amount of words needed to build a strong vocabulary but the publisher Scholastic suggests that only 3000 words are used in our day to day speech whilst the average adult will know more than 20,000 words.

From my experience as a teacher, tutor, educator and father, I can share with you an 11 plus vocabulary list, suggestions on how to help improve your child’s vocabulary and links to other 11+ vocabulary games and resources. Building a strong vocabulary is a gift which will increase understanding, improve opportunities and enrich your child’s future.

Help My Child to Build a Strong 11 Plus Vocabulary?

Building a strong vocabulary is a process. The temptation might be to overload your child but planning this can prove more productive. Follow this process and you might find that by working on as few as 5 words a week could improve your child’s vocabulary by 260 words.

  1. Download our 11 plus vocabulary list and ask your child to use each word in a sentence. Where there is more than one definition for a word then ask for a sentence for each definition. Record on the sheet which words are your child already knows and which you want your child to learn.
  2. Make sure your child is reading good quality texts which will help build a strong vocabulary. We have a list of great texts that will help. With my own children I have found that it can help to have a dictionary and thesaurus next to them when reading.
  3. Download our 11 plus vocabulary games and resources and start playing some of the educational games. Remove the words from the deck as your child learns them. You can now focus on the words that you want your child to learn.

Get Help

Passing the 11 plus entrance exam is a challenge. If you want help then we have been helping children prepare for the 11 plus exams since 2009. Click here to find your nearest venue and book your free trial.


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11 Plus Test Registration

How do I Register for the 11 Plus Test?

If you want to register your child for the 11 plus test for the Grammar Schools in Birmingham for entry in September 2020 you can follow this simple process. We have provided all the links that you might need but these sometimes change so it is important that you check the current process with your chosen grammar schools.

  • Use the links below to check the entry requirements for each of the Birmingham grammar schools.
  • Then apply online to register your child for a place on the 11 plus test for entry in September 2020
  • Finally in the early part of year 6 you can apply online for Birmingham Secondary School Entry.

Before I Register for the Birmingham Grammar 11+ test

Before starting your application for the 11+ test you need a digital photo to upload. During the application you will be asked to provide information about your child.

Register for the right Grammar Schools 11+ test

Recently Grammar Schools in Birmingham brought together the tests so that children can now sit just one exam to gain access to all the Grammar Schools in Birmingham.

Check the list of Birmingham Grammar schools below:

Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School for Boys
King Edward VI Aston School
King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys
King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Girls
King Edward VI Five Ways School
King Edward VI Handsworth Grammar School for Boys
King Edward VI Handsworth School for Girls
Sutton Coldfield Grammar School for Girls

What score do I need to get?

The score needed to be awarded a place in each of the grammar schools changes each year and is dependant on the scores that children achieve in the 11 plus tests. To get a place in the more popular grammar schools your child will need a higher score. Your 11+ tutor should be able to assess your child so that you can determine your likely chance of gaining a place in the grammar school of your choice.

Birmingham Secondary School Entry Application

In the early part of the academic year, when your child is in year 6, you will be able to apply online to Birmingham City Council for a secondary school place. Normally you will be able to list your schools in order of preference.

It is important that you place your Grammar School choice in position one. Many parents will choose one or two grammar schools and then comprehensive schools after these selections.

The late entry application for secondary school is currently open while we wait for admission applications to open.

Next Steps

Finally you can click here to register for the Birmingham 11 plus test by following this link.


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Tutoring to inspire enterprising behaviour

This is a guest post from one of the founders of Clever Tykes, a series of children’s storybooks written to inspire enterprising behaviour in Key Stage 2 children. Ben Cook explains how expert tutoring helps to develop key traits in children.


I recently read Genie Tutors’ previous post on tutoring programmes during the summer and I’d like to explore those principles in a little more detail. I’ve accrued a lot of experience working with parents, teachers and children in Key Stage 2, particularly seven to ten years of age. The difference in attitudes of children of different backgrounds is significant, and that was, in fact, one of the primary reasons we developed the Clever Tykes books.

The series was born out of the principle that children who grow up with an enterprising role model in their family are more likely to grow up to start a successful business. The idea is that the more creativity and confidence we can instil in children, the better their life prospects. Tutoring programmes certainly have their role to play in enterprise education.

Schoolteachers do their best to provide children with a broad and well-rounded education. However, the demands of the national curriculum and having exams at every turn, puts pressure on teachers to prioritise academic subjects. This is especially true for children in secondary school and moving into Key Stage 4. This is why additional teaching with a tutor that understands the need to develop a broad range of skills is likely to separate an academically strong child from a prime candidate for a range of careers.


But why is enterprising behaviour so important?

Being enterprising refers to having a number of skills such as independence, resourcefulness and resilience as well as having a positive attitude towards life and its challenges. These are the characteristics that not only help a child succeed in education but in their career, especially should they wish to start a business at any stage.


And how can tutoring help?

Small group tutoring is a unique experience and one that helps develop these new traits. Tutors also serve to develop those skills not necessarily developed in the classroom environment. Another, often overlooked, benefit of having a tutor is that a child has a new role model in their life, focused on building a positive “can do” attitude. Clever Tykes’ research has highlighted the importance of role models in a child’s development process and a tutor represents something alternative to a parent and a teacher who can help raise aspirations and build confidence.

Children very quickly adopt the traits of those around them; it’s exactly why we’re wary of them falling in with ‘the wrong crowd’. Private tutors at Genie typically have a very positive outlook on life, work and education and having this attitude adopted by children is perfect, especially if you’re unsure how they’re obtaining it from their school experience.

The combination of developing new knowledge and skills as well as having a positive role model in their life makes having a tutor a real benefit for children of all ages. Whilst younger children are more impressionable and likely to adopt these traits more quickly, arguably it is more important that older children, closer to entering the world of work, benefit from tutoring. It shows there is never a wrong time to start tutoring to help children be more enterprising.


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The subtle impressions children pick up from their parents



You will be hard pressed to find a parent who doesn’t want the best for their child. If you’re reading a blog like this, then you are likely a parent who already goes the extra mile for their children and likely take an active interest in their education and development. Most, if not all, parents are supportive of their child’s progress in school and, in turn, children often find their own enthusiasm for school fuelled through their parents’ attitude to education. In fact, the attitude of a parent towards a child’s education is one of the biggest factors in how much a child achieves in school.


Whilst positive attitudes at home are crucial to success in school; there are other ways in which a parent can be supportive of their child’s education. These changes are often very subtle, but they can affect how a child views some of the core principles of education. For example, this new study highlights how children’s attitudes about intelligence can be influenced by a parent’s approach to failure. The study shows how parents who view failure (such as a low grade or a sporting loss) as a negative event tend to give children the impression that their ability or intelligence is something that is ‘fixed’ and cannot be improved. If a child accepts strict limitations on their abilities and talents, they will be less inclined to push forward and try to improve.


The quote, commonly attributed to Thomas Edison, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work” comes to mind. Using failure as an opportunity to learn and consciously focusing on the ability to progress from a disappointing result will not only help pick up your child’s spirits, it will subconsciously inform your child’s approach to future challenges.


Another great way to positively influence your child’s approach to work and education is in how you give praise to their work. Every parent has felt proud of something their child has produced, but it can be too easy to only praise the finished product. At Genie Tutors, we endeavour to praise the hard work and effort that has gone into producing work, rather than the final piece of work. This culture of praising effort is vital to children’s success, especially when they find something challenging. By rewarding a good attitude towards learning, a child is more likely to remain motivated when progress becomes difficult.


When the final piece of work is the only thing to receive praise, children may shy away from challenges, for fear of providing a ‘substandard’ piece of work. However, if a child is taught that hard work is what counts, they’ll be more accepting of challenges and hurdles in their life.

At Genie Tutors, we take the task of giving children a positive approach to education very seriously. Though these small tweaks may seem negligible, they can subconsciously enforce a child’s wider views and opinions on learning.

If you want your child to join Genie Tutors, use our ‘find a centre’ page to locate your closest centre.

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Four tips to get your child reading more often.

Not the finest use of books, but it’s a start!
Not the finest use of books, but it’s a start!


In the age of flashing screens, computer games and constant distraction, making sure a child has a good attitude towards reading can sometimes be difficult. Some children seem to be totally against the idea of reading, believing it to be dull and associating books with work. Other children, including myself when I was a child, love reading once they get into a book, but are often reluctant to take the first step in choosing new reading material. What we know is that children reading as regularly as possible helps social and educational development in a plethora of ways. We also know that most parents want to encourage their children to read more, but often have difficulty in motivating them to pick up another book.

Luckily, we at Genie Tutors have some great tips to get children reading more often.


  1. Use real life activities to reinforce what a child has read.


If a child needs a push to read more often, bringing literary references to life can be a great way to encourage children to explore the world of fiction further. One of our tutors talks about taking his children ‘Gruffalo hunting’, where a walk in the countryside suddenly turns into living the adventure of one of their favourite books. This same walk in the park can easily become a bear hunt, fuelled by a child’s imagination. If a child has a passion for helping in the kitchen, making sauces can quickly be the subject of a ‘potions class’ at Hogwarts. A weekend away camping can turn the stressful act of putting up a tent into a Robinson Crusoe inspired survival experience. Bringing these literary memories off the page and into real life is a great way for children to become more engaged with what they read. The children will create positive memories associated with books they have read, and this will push them to choose to read more books in the future.


  1. Take an active role in their reading.


In order to be able to commit to the suggestion made above, a parent needs to already be actively involved. Instead of tasking a child with an hour’s silent reading, if parents show interest in reading and spend time with their child, this is likely to enhance the child’s enjoyment of the text. As adults, we often associate reading with privacy and silence, but a child might need quite the opposite to experience the magic of a book. A lot of children’s literature relies on the cadence and flow of the words to bring it to life, so hearing a parent read out loud, even at ages when children can comfortably read by themselves, is often a great way to develop interest in a story.


  1. Make book purchases specific to a child’s interests.


While the internet may well contribute to a child’s reluctance to read, it can also be used advantageously. The internet gives everyone access to a mind-boggling amount of literature, so there’s no excuse for not buying a hesitant reader the perfect book that will interest them. If you have a football-mad son, you no longer have to settle for walking into a book shop and buying the first football-related title you can find. Use the internet to find a book or magazine with, for example, their favourite team or player on the front cover, so that they are more likely to be excited about the purchase. Allowing a child to choose a book also increases the chances that they will read the book once it is purchased, and it is certainly a less intimidating experience for a reluctant reader than being dragged to the library!


  1. Reward your child’s efforts regularly.


Finally, it is vital to reward children for their efforts when they try to read more often. It is important to do this while the child is still reading the book, rather than at the end of the book. This means that the reward is for the act of reading, not for finishing a book. The treat could even be related to the book, such as buying the DVD to see how the child’s impression of the book differs from the film, or doing a similar activity to those suggested in the first tip. What is important, is demonstrating the value in reading and giving reading positive associations. Hopefully, all a child will want is another book!